New car sales look set for record March

Car dealers are looking forward to a record spring period as figures for February revealed that new car registrations climbed 3.8% to peak at 91,460 vehicles.

This has brought the number of new cars registered so far this year to 289,051 a rise 5.2%.

According to the figures produced by the Society of Motor Manufactures, diesel cars sales increased by 20%, with 27,255 cars registered in February - taking the diesel market share to almost a third of new vehicles sold.

Commenting on the figures SMMT Chief Executive Christopher Macgowan said: "Strong growth in a traditionally small month has pushed the UK market forward once more. The road has been paved for a record March market of around 450,000 units, generating approximately £6 billion worth of business."

He added: "However, the industry is concerned that the DVLA has chosen March, one of the two busiest months of the year, to upgrade its IT systems used by dealers and fleets to register new cars."

He said: "This is a bit like a local authority digging up the roads on the busiest day of the year. You know they're going to do it, you just can't understand why".

Last year car registrations in the UK reached a record 2,579,050 million, up from 2,563,631 units in 2002.

Overall, the market is expected to remain stable at around 2.5 million cars sold during 2004.

The registration figures include Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.


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